July 23, 2012 by eric echols
Last week, my wife and I took our kids to Six Flags over Georgia. The park is divided up into multiple areas that each have their own specific attractions. Their signs easily directed us to each of the general areas. Once we arrived at each general area, the signs then pointed us to the specific attractions we were looking for. Not one time during our visit did we need to stop and ask directions.
Six Flags use of directional signage enhanced our family’s experience. I think the same principles they used will help us enhance the experience of visitors to our churches. Here is what I learned:
Signs Move People
The first principle I learned is that the main goal of signs in a public place is to direct people to where they need to go. Efficient signage moves people from the general to the specific.
The signage in your church needs to be placed at ever decision point so that you can move people from the general to the specific. For example, you need general signage at every entry into your building that points families to your children’s ministry, student ministry, and worship center.
Keep in mind, the last thing families with preschoolers need to do is stop by a welcome center to ask for directions. The moment they do is the moment their preschoolers make their escape into the crowd. Instead, they need to be able to easily and quickly determine where they are going and the direction they need to go to get there.
Once you direct people to a general area, they then need specific signage pointing them to their next decision. For example, your general signage points families to your children’s ministry area. Once they arrive, they will need signage directing them to the specific place for checking in their children. Then they will need clear-cut signage pointing them to each of your age graded classrooms.
See The Signs
The second principle I learned is that signs need to be seen. If you cannot see the sign it is useless. For your signs to be seen, there should be no barrier between the placement of your signs and the users line of sight. This means that the signs in your lobby or hallways need to be above the crowd.
Readability also ensures that your signs are seen. Make sure you use easy to read fonts and that they are large enough to be seen at a distance.
A general rule of thumb is to use a ratio of 25 feet per inch of text. This means that a one-inch font can be read 25 feet away, a two-inch font can be read 50 feet away, and so forth. Additional considerations include eye-catching colors, the use of contrasts, and simple images to help families see your signs.
Additionally, consider the use of contrast and eye-catching colors to make sure your signs are seen.
Benefits of Good Signage
Like our experience at Six Flags, good signage at our churches will create a positive, user-friendly experience for our visitors. It will lower anxiety and increase their ability to move throughout your facility.